Ghana is positioning itself to harness the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) because the benefits of the programme will not come automatically to the country, the government has said.
The AfCFTA, a flagship programme of the African Union (AU), is an agreement of African countries to create a single market (Duty-Free, Quota-free) covering the entire African Continent with a total population of about 1.2 billion and a combined Gross Domestic Product of also $3 Trillion.
So far, 54 countries out of the 55 with the exception of Eritrea have signed the AfCFTA and 27 countries have ratified the Agreement.
The government in a statement on the AfCFTA, copied to the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday, said Ghana had taken lead in implementing the Programme of Action to Boost Intra-African Trade (BIAT) endorsed by African Union Heads of State recently.
“The BIAT looks at some cluster priority areas, and it is instructive to note that Ghana is already in all those areas towards harnessing the benefits from the free trade area,” the statement said.
It mentioned the clusters as Productive Capacity (Industrialisation), Trade Facilitation, Trade-related and Infrastructure, Trade Finance, Trade Information, Trade Policy and Market Integration.
The statement said under the Industrial Productive Capacity Ghana, among others, was implementing the One District, One Factory Initiative and the establishment of anchor industries such as automobile, iron and steel, and on Trade Infrastructure the country was working on Port Expansion and construction of roads and railways.
It said in the areas of Access to Finance, there was ongoing rollout of Stimulus Package for Local Industries and on Trade Information the country had already established the Ghana Commodity Exchange and the Electronic Trade Information system for the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, while on the Trade Policy Ghana has in place a National Trade Policy.
The statement said Ghana was also hosting the Secretariat of the AfCFTA in a bid for the country to become the new commercial capital of Africa.
“The AfCFTA will enhance government’s current Industrial Development Agenda and contribute to the diversification of the Ghanaian economy and open up new market access opportunities under preferential terms for Ghanaian producers particularly Small and Medium-scale Industries,” it said.
The statement said the AfCFTA, among others, seeks to increase intra-African trade through better harmonisation and coordination of trade within the African continent, address the challenge of small fragmented markets in Africa by creating a single continental market which will lead to economies of scale.
It said the AfCFTA was also to develop regional value chains and facilitate cross border movements, enhance access to an expanded market for SMEs in Africa on preferential trade terms, facilitate the integration of African economies into global markets, enhance the benefits to consumers in Africa through lower prices of goods imported from within Africa and significantly enhance employment opportunities in Africa particularly for the youth.
By Times Reporter